Decoding Your Dog: How DNA Testing Can Change The Way You Care for Them
From the wag of their tail to the shape of their ears, our beloved dogs have unique traits that go back thousands of years. So, if you adopted a dog or looked at your mixed-breed pup and found yourself guessing their ancestry, you are not alone. Many owners get stumped when confronted with these questions: What is your dog’s breed? What kind of dog is that?
That is where DNA tests for dogs can help! DNA testing for dogs not only provides answers to those common questions that arise during your daily walks or café runs but also offers valuable information about potential health risks, behavior, training techniques, and more. Whether you already know your pup’s breed or not, it’s like unlocking the blueprint to their well-being.
Whether your pup inherited its curly tail from a Pug or its high energy from a Border Collie, knowing its breed allows you to tailor their care and training to suit its needs.
So, What Exactly Is A Dog DNA Test?
First, before we dive in, here’s a quick rundown of what DNA tests are and how they work. A dog DNA test could reveal your four-legged friend’s ancestry and genetic makeup. It involves collecting a sample, such as a cheek swab or saliva from your dog, and sending it to a specialized laboratory for analysis. Then, the DNA test analyzes the genetic material to identify specific markers that reveal the percentage breakdown of a dog’s breed.
It’s important to note some veterinarians have raised questions regarding the accuracy of these tests for your pet, as they are not regulated like human DNA tests. It’s hard to guarantee the exact reliability of the information you receive. But DNA tests for dogs are still beneficial (especially to us as dog trainers), and we recommend looking for well-reputed companies with positive reviews. If you’re curious about what others have to say, here is “The Best Dog DNA Tests of 2023,” according to USA Today.
Here are five ways dog DNA testing can help you care for your pet.
1. Ensuring a Healthy Future
We all want our furry friends to lead long, healthy lives. Dog DNA tests lend a helping paw and give more insight into your dog’s ancestry. Many tests include health screenings that can help detect genetic mutations and potential predispositions to specific diseases. By uncovering these potential risks, you can work with your veterinarian, who can address concerns and offer guidance with regular check-ups.
2. Decoding Your Dog’s Behavior and Temperament
As mentioned, dogs have been selectively bred for generations to exhibit specific behaviors and fulfill tasks. For example, Dobermans were bred to protect a hated tax collector, while Australian Shepherds were made to be skilled sheep and cattle herders. Fun fact, right?!
Although many people now own these dogs as lovable companions rather than for their original purposes, it’s important to recognize they still retain their instincts. DNA tests for dogs can provide insight into the breeds that make up your pup and give you the answers to why they behave the way they do. For instance, you may discover the reason for your dog’s independent nature could be that they are a mix of stubborn breeds.
3. Better Nutrition and Exercise
Different dog breeds have varying exercise requirements and nutritional needs. By identifying the lineage in a mixed-breed dog’s DNA, owners can better determine appropriate exercise routines and suitable diets that cater to their dog.
4. Personalized Training
As professional dog trainers, understanding your dog’s breed allows us to create a more customized training regimen for them. Different breeds have unique characteristics and traits that may influence their learning. Just like humans, dogs have all kinds of different personalities. The Myers-Briggs Company created its own personality Dog Type Table that reveals your dog’s personality type, making it easier to determine their training styles.
5. Building a Stronger Bond
At the heart of Dog Gone Amazing, our mission is to help dogs and their people build a bond based on love, freedom, and adventure. So, we saved the best takeaway for last. Dog DNA testing can create a more meaningful connection between dogs and their owners. Just as understanding someone’s background helps us relate to them better, the same applies to our furry friends. By uncovering their genetic origins, we can learn how certain breeds and mixed breeds would like to be cared for, treated, and trained.
DNA tests for dogs provide valuable information that truly helps us take better care of our cherished pets. And we know one thing for certain – all dogs, no matter the breed, can benefit from dog training!